Families come to HSRBSC for various reasons. Some may require assistance to overcome isolation and connect with other local parents, while others may face more complex challenges. Regardless of the situation, we strive to provide our families with the best possible support. Our Family Support Groups are designed to promote togetherness and enjoyment for both adults and children alike.
Although Summer seems like a distant memory now, our summer term was jam-packed for families attending our Family Support Groups. Now that we have three groups weekly (in Royston, Buntingford and South Cambridgeshire), there were even more activities to enjoy! Here’s a round-up of what went on during the summer months…
Activities for Children: Making memories and learning through play
Learning through play is at the heart of all our activities for children. This includes babies, toddlers, and those preparing to go to school. We follow EYFS guidelines to ensure we cover all areas of learning. This helps to complement the kind of play children will experience at nursery or pre-school.
Children love being physical, so we provide many opportunities for being active. We ensure there is space for music and movement, running, jumping, pushing walkers and riding in cars and on trikes. A picnic in the park also enabled climbing, swinging and sliding.
Little ones have tummy time, safe spaces to crawl and colourful interactive toys to develop their coordination.
The summer term saw many creative activities. We made bunting and flags for the coronation celebrations, face painting and messy play. Adding Weetabix and Rice Krispies, farm animals and vehicles to the tuff tray allowed little ones to build their very own farmyard. Playdough, paint, collage, and other mark-making resources were popular features at the craft table. Summer was also the perfect time of year for children to get messy outside with the water tray and sand in the gardens.
Small-world play with cars, trains, farm animals and much more helps to develop little imaginations. As does lots of role-play activities such as kitchen and shop, pirate play and an ice cream stall. As we support the children to join in with these activities, we encourage sharing and turn-taking. This helps them to socialise with other children and build relationships.
Developing communication, language and literacy are integral to everything we do. We talk and listen to the children, encouraging them to communicate their needs to us. Songs, rhymes and stories feature in every group session.
Activities for Parents: It’s not just about the little ones
We don’t just plan activities for the children. We also find ways to support adults with their mental health and well-being, as well as social time.
Over the summer, we organised various activities such as making soup and weaving willow into beautiful hearts or swallows. Ther was also some painting, mindfulness colouring and simple embroidery skills to learn. One of our volunteers held some first aid sessions to build confidence in our parents. This gave them skills in how to cope with choking and burns if the situation arose. We also invited a representative from the local CAB to provide information about the services they offer and how they can help families.
These activities allowed our parents to learn new skills, make friends, and focus on their own well-being. It was clear they were thankful for that from the feedback we received.
Summer Holidays: Outdoor activities and fun days out
Our Family Support Groups do not run during the school holidays and we are acutely aware that for some families who rely on their weekly visit to their local group, a six-week break can be challenging. To address this, we made sure that opportunities to meet up were made available to all Family Support Group families. This included their school-aged children and regardless of location. We organised sessions in three different public parks, and thankfully, the weather was on our side for all three occasions!
Family Fun Day at Foxton
In the middle of the summer holidays, our wonderful volunteers organised a Fun Day for all our families to enjoy. There were various free summer fete activities for families to enjoy. We had hook a duck, a wire challenge, moving marbles, raffles, tombolas, a craft table, and, of course, cake! There was also had a visit from the local police, who invited the children inside the car. This was thoroughly enjoyed by all. To make the day even more special, we had a ball pit for the youngest children. And there was even a visit from Shepreth Wildlife Park Hedgehog Hospital.
Moving with music
Our thanks also to Linda and Liz, two of our incredible supporters, who led a very lively music session. It got everyone up and singing along, moving and grooving with ribbons, all to the beat of the guitar. And that’s not all; we even pretended to be busy little bees, buzzing around the sunflowers! It was a ton of fun, and we can’t wait to do it again!
Making the most of the weather
Taking advantage of the excellent weather, we arranged trips to local parks. Here, children had the freedom to enjoy climbing, swinging, running, and jumping. We even made it to the splash park! This was amazing to watch; there was such joy and carefreeness of being young.
Having our volunteers on hand at these activities means the children are safe and well cared for. And, parents can relax a little knowing the children are getting some great physical activity.
We shared information about other upcoming local activities during the holidays with families; such as family centre sessions, stories and rhyme time at the library, to name a few.
Welcomes and Farewells: Welcoming new families and saying goodbye to those leaving
It was a delight to welcome new families to our Family Support Groups for the summer term. We love meeting new faces and getting to know each other better.
However, as the summer term came to a close, it was tinged with sadness as we bid farewell to families whose children will be starting full-time school in September. We presented our little leavers with certificates to commemorate their time with us. It was heartwarming to see how much the children had grown and how much more confident both the parents and children had become after spending time in our safe, friendly, and non-judgemental environment with other like-minded parents.
Amazing Support: Thank you to our volunteers for giving their time
Our co-ordinators wish to express their immense gratitude to our dedicated Family Support Group volunteers for their unwavering support in providing a safe and enjoyable environment for our families.
Our volunteers have been an invaluable source of comfort and support to parents, providing a listening ear and expert guidance on a wide range of issues. They have worked tirelessly to create a warm and welcoming environment for families, taking care to support children’s play and ensure that everyone feels safe and included. Their dedication and hard work have not gone unnoticed, and we are truly grateful for everything they have done to make a difference in the lives of those they help.
We would also like to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to our summer events, including those who provided music, crafts, and other activities. Your assistance was invaluable, and we couldn’t have done it without you.